V.S. Naipaul biography

Author Biography  | Books by this Author  | Readalikes

V.S. Naipaul

V.S. Naipaul

How to pronounce V.S. Naipaul: V S nie-PAWL

V.S. Naipaul Biography

V.S. Naipaul (Vidiadhar Surajprasad) was born in Chaguanas, Trinidad, on 17 August 1932, the eldest son of a second-generation Indian. He was educated at Queen's Royal College, Trinidad, and, after winning a government scholarship, in England at University College, Oxford. He worked briefly for the BBC as a writer and editor for the 'Caribbean Voices' programme.

His first three books are comic portraits of Trinidadian society. The Mystic Masseur (1957) won the Mail on Sunday/John Llewellyn Rhys Prize in 1958 and was adapted as a film with a screenplay by Caryl Phillips in 2001. Miguel Street (1959), a collection of short stories, won a Somerset Maugham Award. His acclaimed novel A House for Mr Biswas (1961), is based on his father's life in Trinidad. His first novel set in England, Mr Stone and the Knights Companion (1963), won the Hawthornden Prize.

Subsequent novels developed more political themes and he began to write about colonial and post-colonial societies in the process of decolonisation. These novels include The Mimic Men (1967), winner of the 1968 WH Smith Literary Award, In a Free State (1971), which won the Booker Prize for Fiction, Guerrillas (1975) and A Bend in the River (1979), set in Africa. The Enigma of Arrival (1987) is a personal account of his life in England. A Way in the World (1994), is a formally experimental narrative that combines fiction and non-fiction in a historical portrait of the Caribbean. Half a Life, was published in 2001 and follows the adventures of Indian Willie Chandran in post-war Britain, a new life initiated by a chance encounter between his father and the novelist W. Somerset Maugham. Magic Seeds (2004) continues his story.

V. S. Naipaul is also the author of a number of works of non-fiction including three books about India: An Area of Darkness (1964), India: A Wounded Civilization (1977), India: A Million Mutinies Now (1990), and two books about Islamic societies, Among the Believers: An Islamic Journey (1981) and Beyond Belief: Islamic Excursions (1998). He has written about the Caribbean in The Middle Passage: Impressions of Five Societies - British, French and Dutch in the West Indies and South America (1962) and The Loss of El Dorado: A History (1969), and has published two collections of essays, The Overcrowded Barracoon and Other Articles (1972) and The Return of Eva Peron (1980). The Writer and the World: Essays, was published in 2002, and Literary Occasions, a further collection of essays, was published in 2004.  In 1995 he published two nonfiction works: Indian Essays and American Occasions; and in 2007, A Writer's People: Ways of Looking and Feeling.

V. S. Naipaul was knighted in 1989 (Sir Vidia), and was awarded the David Cohen British Literature Prize by the Arts Council of England in 1993 and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2001. He holds honorary doctorates from Cambridge University and Columbia University in New York, and honorary degrees from the universities of Cambridge, London and Oxford. He lives in Wiltshire, England.



This bio was last updated on 07/03/2016. We try to keep BookBrowse's biographies both up to date and accurate, but with many thousands of lives to keep track of it's a tough task. So, please help us - if the information about a particular author is out of date or inaccurate, and you know of a more complete source, please let us know. Authors: If you wish to make changes to your bio, send your complete biography as you would like it displayed so that we can replace the old with the new.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Books by this Author

Books by V.S. Naipaul at BookBrowse
The Masque of Africa jacket A Writer's People jacket Half A Life jacket
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for V.S. Naipaul but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose readalikes

  • Nadeem Aslam

    Nadeem Aslam

    Nadeem Aslam was born in Pakistan in 1966 and moved to Britain at age 14. His family left Pakistan to escape President Zia's regime.

    His novel Maps for Lost Lovers, winner of the Kuriyama Prize, took him more than a decade ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Half A Life

    Try:
    The Wasted Vigil
    by Nadeem Aslam

  • Kiran Desai

    Kiran Desai

    Kiran Desai was born in India in 1971, she lived in Delhi until she was 14, then spent a year in England, before her family moved to the USA.  She completed her schooling in Massachusetts before attending Bennington ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Half A Life

    Try:
    The Inheritance of Loss
    by Kiran Desai

We recommend 8 similar authors

View all 8 Readalikes

Non-members can see 2 results. Become a member
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Pachinko
    Pachinko
    by Min Jin Lee
    Pachinko has one of the best opening lines I've encountered in some time: "History has failed us, ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Summer Before the War
    by Helen Simonson
    Set on the cusp of World War I, The Summer Before the War exudes strength and spirit as a small town...
  • Book Jacket: Lincoln in the Bardo
    Lincoln in the Bardo
    by George Saunders
    George Saunders' Lincoln in the Bardo is a philosophy discourse brilliantly disguised as a ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Victoria
by Daisy Goodwin

"A hit…The research is impeccable, the attention to detail, perfect." - The Sunday Mirror (UK)

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Caught in the Revolution
    by Helen Rappaport

    A masterful retelling of the Russian Revolution from the author of The Romanov Sisters.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Fifth Petal
    by Brunonia Barry

    Beloved author Brunonia Barry returns to the world of The Lace Reader with this spellbinding new thriller.
    Reader Reviews

Who Said...

Life is the garment we continually alter, but which never seems to fit.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

K Your F C

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.